The first really big story I covered for The Inlander was a doozey. When a Spokane lawyer took on the biggest name in the Democratic establishment, the world was watching; and when George Nethercutt beat Tom Foley as part of the 1994 Republican landslide, he made history. I still remember interviewing Nethercutt in the back room of his chaotic campaign office that September and him telling me about too much debt coming down the track like a runaway train. (Some things never change.)
So when I started thinking about adding a conservative voice to our commentary pages, I thought of him. Starting today, George Nethercutt will be sharing his thoughts here once a month.
Careful readers know our commentary pages have long been filled with progressive ideas — ideas that usually had no chance of becoming real, as Republicans dominated our national politics. So I know what it feels like to offer counter-arguments that are banished to the wilderness. As a result, oddly enough, my belief in the two-party system is only stronger.
But that system is broken, as we’ve forgotten how American politics should work. At the height of Karl Rove’s run, he wanted his party to just go ahead and take over; the Dems ultimately resorted to the same philosophy during the recent health care fight. I can’t think of anything dumber and more un-American than one-party rule. We are at our best when a spirited, honest debate between two sides creates solutions.
How can we get our two-party system back on track? We can start by listening to each other — especially to people we are sure we don’t agree with. Let the best ideas shine, and the empty grandstanding will wither in comparison. We all need to step back from the brink of these ugly stand-offs and remember that we’re all in this together. And like a rocky marriage, we need to work it out for the sake of our big, crazy family’s future.
I find it quite gracious that George Nethercutt has agreed to my offer — after all, this is a newspaper that only endorsed him once in all his campaigns. (And I’m sure we said some intemperate things about his politics along the way.) So if George Nethercutt is willing to write for The Inlander, and I’m willing to run it, maybe we can get along after all.
Ted S. McGregor Jr. is the Editor and Publisher of The Inlander.